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Valley People (Mar 12, 2014)

JOYCE MURRAY OF BOONVILLE HAS DIED. Mrs. Murray's husband, Ross, said that Mrs. Murray passed away Thursday night. She was 87. Joyce Murray was a well-known professional singer with the Andrew Sisters. There will be a graveside service at Anderson Valley's Evergreen Cemetery at 2 PM on Saturday, March 15th, following which family and friends will celebrate Joyce's life with a potluck gathering at the Senior Center, Boonville. We are reprinting the 2009 interview with Mrs. Murray by Steve Sparks on the front page of this week’s paper.

HENDY WOODS plans to close its campground the weekend of May 3rd. The highly popular Boonville Beer Fest also occurs the weekend of May 3rd. Hendy's administrator, Loren Rex, says last year's Beer Fest campers got wayyyyy out of hand, or at least some of them did, and Hendy doesn't want a repeat performance. The annual celebration is certainly well-managed on the Boonville end, even to the provision of a bus to ferry campers back and forth from Hendy. It seems arbitrary in the extreme for State Parks to pre-emptively assume they'll again have trouble policing obnoxious drunks, and how can State Parks close a public park in anticipation of undesirable patrons? Locals are hoping that an agreement to keep the state park open can be reached well before the event. I mean really, the issue here wouldn't seem insurmountable.

MANY LOCALS will remember Michael Equine, a well-known drummer with the equally well-known band, Cat Mother, once based on the Mendocino Coast. Equine, as described in a nice piece by Chris Smith for the Press Democrat, “warmed up major-venue audiences for Jimi Hendrix or set out from Mendocino for gigs at honkytonks up and down the coast.” Now 73, Equine has fallen on hard times, complicated by a couple of jail terms on drug convictions. The guy's broke and living out of his car in Santa Rosa.

CAT MOTHER played at the County Fair in Boonville, among many venues from Berkeley north while Equine, in between engagements, worked on the Mendocino Coast as a cook and whatever else he could find to do. According to Smith, Equine, “through his quarter-century in Mendocino, was married three times, though only once officially. He has two daughters, ages 51 and 26. He said he left Mendocino for Sonoma County after his third wife fell ill and died in his arms. 'I came down here because everything up there reminded me of her.'“

SMITH'S story closes, “For him (Equine), one of the worst parts of living in a car is that it limits him musically to listening to the radio and maybe tapping on the steering wheel. But at least, he said, ‘I still have music in my head, and in my heart’.”

BZZZZZ. A Pollinator Workshop! Friday March 21st 1-5pm At River’s Bend Retreat Center 18450 Rays Rd, Philo. Presenters and topics include: Jessa Guisse, Xerces Society, Native Pollinators; Kate Frey, Good Pollinator Plants for Anderson Valley and Pollinators in the Vineyard Setting; Linda McElwee, MCRCD, Installing and Maintaining Pollinator Hedgerows; Michael Thiele, Gaia Bees, “A New Approach to Living With Honey Bees”; Carol Mandel, NRCS, USDA Pollinator programs. Classroom component from 1-4 pm. Wine/cheese tasting & a walking tour of grounds and garden from 4-5 pm. For more info call the Navarro River Resource Center 895-3230. ALSO: Evening showing at The Shed (Behind the Ice Cream Shop) in Boonville of “More Than Honey.” Show begins at 7:30. This event is co-sponsored by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District and the North Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council. This is a free event, funding generously provided by the Clif Bar Family Foundation.

THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS voted 4-1 last week (McCowen dissenting) to proceed with an “Exclusive Operating Area” (EOA) for “inland zone” ambulance services. Which includes us here in the Anderson Valley. McCowen said he thought it was premature to proceed until the funding picture became clearer. Everyone agreed that the primary problem with Mendo ambulance services in our outback areas is that they are dependent on volunteers and generally lack funding.

WHY DO OUTBACK ambulance services lack funding? Because Proposition 172, the Public Safety Sales Tax Measure from the 1990s, is hogged by law enforcement, specifically DA Eyster and Sheriff Allman, as well as probation and juvenile hall. A small amount of that 172 money should logically be applied to ambulance services. But local law enforcement gets all that money with specific approval from our supervisors, and law enforcement is unwilling to part with so much as a dime for any emergency services except for the ones they provide.

THE “INLAND ZONE” includes Anderson Valley which, at present, doesn’t have a funding or coverage problem, but doesn’t have the Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic on staff that some people think we should have. Ambulance insiders fear that if the County puts the inland zone out to bid, the world’s largest ambulance company, Norway-based Veri-Health, which is already competing for calls in Willits and Ukiah, would underbid the local competition and quickly push out the smaller local operations, then figure out a way to up their rates, which is what monopolies do.

WHOEVER could imagine that we would come to fear a Norwegian ambulance company? But they gobble up outback ambulance services and somehow make money doing it.

NOTHING WILL HAPPEN any time soon because, as County Health and Human Services Director Stacy Cryer told the Board, “The entire process would take two years…”

THE REDOUBTABLE Jim Little, Laytonville fire chief and the owner/operator of the town's ambulance, had the most interesting, if unlikely, proposal: “If in the future marijuana is legalized I believe it would be prudent for the county to be ahead of the bandwagon in terms of establishing a tax on marijuana. So, without going into detail about how I developed the numbers, but you will recognize them if you have read newspaper articles and understand the business in the county, if you narrowly look at being able to tax 250,000 plants in the county, which is a small percentage of what people claim is being grown in the county, and if you felt that the net value of the plant, the taxable value of the plant, was $800, which is very conservative based on information I have received, and you apply a 15% yield tax on those plants, that would generate $30 million in this county of tax revenue. So if we look at projects like supporting the fire service and supporting the ambulances in the county there is a tremendous business that occurs in his county that the county receives a very limited benefit from. And since the direction we seem to be going is to legalize marijuana, I think it's important for the county to look ahead and position themselves to receive some revenue from that business.”

WITH EARTHQUAKES much in the news after the 6.9 shake off Humboldt County last weekend, a caller pointed out that there was one in 1700 off HumCo estimated at 9.8. That one reconfigured Humboldt Bay and accounts for the topography we see today to the north of us. The '06 quake destroyed Santa Rosa where it killed 40 people, doing proportionately more damage to the Rose City than it did to San Francisco. Anderson Valley? The late Maurice Tindall told me he was 16 at the time of the '06 quake and was hunting that morning up on Signal Ridge. He said when he looked down into The Valley the giant redwoods were moving back and forth like a kelp bed to the rhythms of the sea. The Loma Prieta quake of '89 felt like a sonic boom here in Boonville.

THE FINAL community workshop for the State Route 128 Corridor Valley Trail Feasibility Study will be held Thursday, March 27 5:00 — 7:00 pm at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds Dining Hall in Boonville. The corridor extends from the Sonoma/Mendocino County line to the State Route 128/1 junction in Mendocino County, a distance of approximately 51 miles. Building on previous community efforts, the local non-profit Valley Trail Coalition worked with the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) to secure grant funding for the feasibility study to advance the planning, design, and ultimately construction of a non-motorized valley trail. For more information visit: or

A SINGLE small-ish sign on 128 near Stella Cadente announcing rough road hardly prepares the motorist for two miles of it. Presumably, CalTrans has us on its hurry-up re-pave roster.

AH YOUTH! A 19-year-old girl scared the Boont out of Apple Hall revelers last Friday night when she collapsed and stopped breathing. Fast action by the Anderson Valley Volunteers, Jan Wasson-Smith especially, revived the lass who should have known better than to drink on top of an existing medical condition.

ENCOURAGING SIGHT: Migrating fish spotted on the Rancheria at Fish Rock Road. The recent rains have been sufficient to get what's left of the fish upstream, and let's hope there's enough future water to get their descendants out to sea.

ANOTHER ENCOURAGING sight is the return of Jerry Mabery to his Philo home after dual medical emergencies so severe Jerry had to be choppered south for hurry-up care.

AND A THIRD! Doug Johnson's ceramic fence at Navarro, a true thing of beauty.

APROPOS of nothing at all, the other night I told this story to a couple of ten-year-olds who thought it was funny so I thought I'd pass it along, not that I regard you, dear readers, as ten-year-olds. But telling it brought me back to the days when newspapers were the primary means of communication, five or six of them in the neighborhoods of my youth. Beguiled by sports from an early age, I started reading the sports pages when I was about 8. The rest of the paper made no sense to a kid, and doesn't make much sense now to many adults who, in any case, have pretty much moved on from old-fashioned print to the much larger deserts of the internet. I followed the San Francisco Seals of the old Pacific Coast League and the 49ers. I memorized the rosters of both teams and could recite them and the stats that went with them, verbatim, in discussions with my fellow pre-pube obsessives. This was pre-Little League. You learned how to play baseball by watching the town teams and on the playgrounds. “Can I play with you guys?” No. “Why not?” You're too small. “No, I'm not.” Shut up and go away. “Can I shag balls?” Yes. “Do I get my ups?” No. There was zero instruction until you got to high school, and even there it was spotty. It was pretty much learning by doing. So, as a little kid I'd stare at the photos on the sports pages, especially the ones that showed an infielder jumping up in the air and simultaneously throwing the baseball. At least that's the way the photo looked to me; I hadn't yet seen a competent double play so all I had to go were these sports page pics. I spent hours jumping up and throwing an old ball held together with black plumber's tape against a wall which, as a child, I was unable to duplicate, not that many adults can do it either or ever need to do it. One day an older kid came along and asked me what I was doing. “I'm making the throw from second on a double play,” I said. I can still remember the older kid staring at me before he said something like, “No, you little retard. You don't jump up in the air to throw the ball. You throw the ball then you jump up in the air so you don't get hit by the guy sliding into second!”

NOTING that the Press Democrat is looking for civic-minded persons to sit on their volunteer editorial board, I shot off my bona fides to Paul Gullixson of that fine publication. “Dear Mr. Guillixson: Please consider me for the vacant position on your oversight board. As a 50-year resident of the Northcoast, journalist, married father of three, senior citizen, Giants-Niners-Warriors fan, garage saler with Art Volkerts' late-sister, huge admirer of Doug Bosco, lunch buddy of Mike Geniella, dazzled devotee of Pete Golis's think pieces, and long-time confidant of Gaye LeBaron, I feel I am uniquely qualified for the position. Whatever consideration etc.....Very best, Bruce Anderson, Boonville.”

GULLIXSON soon replied: “Thank you for your information and your interest in this position. I'll pass your nomination on to the other Editorial Board members. We expect to make a decision shortly. Hope all is well with you, Best, Paul.”

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